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Time Odyssey

PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:44 am
by mondu_the_fat
I was getting tired of reading crappy books so I went with an author that I knew could deliver: Arthur C Clarke. I had some of his other books (2001, rama) so I knew what to expect. I downloaded the Time Odyssey series.

spoilers ahoy

1st Book -- Time's Eye

An alien force chopped up earth (and they would learn later, Mars and Venus) from various eras and spliced them together into a single world. The main characters are from 2037, 1880's, King Alexander (and his army), Genhis Khan (and the hordes). Aside from the humans, there are neaderthals, sabre tooth tigers, mammoths, and silver spheres called "Eyes." (Created by a race called "First Ones") The patchwork planet is called "Mir"

The first half of the book deals with the modern characters dealing with the time splice.

The second half of the book is basically Alexander Vs Genghis Khan in Babylon. The battle ends when Khan gets bombed.

The book ends when Bisesa pleads with the Eye to let her return home. She does.

Well written, but Arthur C. Clarke tends to info dump.

2nd Book -- Sunstorm

This book is far more epic than the first. It's basically a disaster story ala Deep Impact/Armageddon/2012.

Bisesa returns to earth circa 2037. It turns out that a massive solar flare (not the term used) is going to hit the earth in 5 years, vaporizing most of it. Earth then scrambles to create a shield that will protect it. Earth also learns (via Bisesa and other scientists) that the flare is not a natural event.

Book ends with the shield AI sacrificing itself.

This book is pretty dang good and the science is far more solid than other disaster stories.

3rd Book -- First Born

Ugh. Things take a rapid spiral downward in this book.

The basic premise is that because earth survived, the aliens sent a quantum bomb to destroy it.

The plot of the story is quite far fetched on multiple levels.

0) It was never explained how the aliens sent the Q-bomb. It took 2000 years to set up the solar flare. The aliens did not have FTL -- the Q-bomb travelled at the speed of a comet. Supposedly, the Q-bomb was sent when the flare failed to kill earth. But then if this was true, then how did the aliens know earth survived and manage to send the Q-bomb within the time period?

1) it starts with Bisesa waking up 19 years later from cryo sleep. It was never shown why she was in cryosleep. The end of book 2 had them celebrating and earth was well into recovery.

2) Bisesa and her daughter Myra are basically fugitives, so they had to escape to Mars. It was never fully explained how Myra became one. It was never explained why Myra helped the spacers (humans who lived in space), becoming a fugitive herself. Hints of a totalitarian government are dropped, but we never really see this. In fact, it seemed that popularity polls heavily affected who ran what, which is the complete opposite of "totalitarian". The sole politician we see (the prime minister ; I forgot which country) is very ethical and largely open and honest to the public.

3) While Clarke loves infodumps, this book takes it to ludicrous levels. The trip from earth to the mars pole is basically nothing but describing the technology behind it. it was probably a hundred or so pages long. Most of the time it felt like the authors were just bragging of how much tech they could cram without being relevant to the story. Seriously, no, I don't want to read the history behind at that plate that the main character sees in passing. Sometimes the infodumps happen in the middle of action or conversation, making me go "what the was happening here again?"

4) Bisesa arrives at mars, where an eye was there. The eye, apparently, was captured by ancient Martians. It was discovered that there was writing on the eye -- a triangle, a square, a pentagon, a hexagon, a 7/8/9/10 pointed shape and so on. The eye sends Bisesa back to the patchwork mir. It was never explained why the eye would do this. Speculation was that the First Ones had a conscience, or that they had enemies.

5) While on Mir, Bisesa manages to communicate to the ancient martian on Mars. By digging up a trench in the artic (triangle, square, pentagon, etc) and filling up with fire. In a couple of *days*.

6) As it turns out, the martian was looking at earth. AND manages to see the message in the artic. Take note that martians are, well, kinda like bacteria. How it manages to read the writing on the artic was never explained. Or why it was looking at earth at that particular knight. Somehow the martian interprets this as "destroy the eye that we captured on mars"* The martian destroys the eye.

*take note, this is happening in an alternate dimension, not the real one where the eye is on mars. If the alternate dimension contained a copy of the captured eye, why does it have it? If the alternate dimension was created by the First Ones, why would they have duplicated a captured eye?

7) The Q-bomb (in the real dimension) SWERVES and bypasses earth to hit mars. It was never explained why it did this.

8) Book ends with the alternate dimension and Mir collapsing. Bisesa's granddaughter (mentioned precisely once before in passing; all she knows is that her granddaughter is currently living with her dad) appears to her and tells her "we are the Last Born, fighting a war and we are, so come with me."

Book 4 --

There is no book 4. Arthur C. Clarke passed away. Maybe the co-author would write a book 4. Without it, huge chunks of the previous books simply do not make sense.

Re: Time Odyssey

PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:11 am
by Ellen Kuhfeld
Clarke's infodumps aren't nearly as much fun as Asimov's. :lol: